We’ve had Vampires, and we’ve had witches and with hunts. Today it is the turn of ghosts, silent and terrifying, we are never quite sure if they are a fragment of our imagination or lost souls destined to haunt Earth for eternity . There are thousands of spine-chilling ghost stories in literature, but we have chosen a new book destined to be a bestseller this year. Dark Matter by Michelle Paver is a story surrounding a group of Arctic explorers. While discovering this harsh landscape, numbers soon dwindle until one man, Jack, is left to record his experiences in his journal. But is he alone?
Watch the book trailer below and click on the cover to get your copy today.
As we find out your favourite book dedicated to the best fictional witches imagined, we look at the terrifying true story of the witch hunts in Britain. If you were living between 1400 -1700 and had a gift for predicting the weather, curing illness, nearby when someone who had a misfortune and needed someone to blame, or unfortunate to have a husband who was quick to point the finger in your direction when he was fed up with you. Either way you would be treated to a dunking in the nearest river just to make sure you had supernatural powers by being able to hold your breath, and if you didn’t drown you were dragged to the nearest pile of fire wood and set alight. Not a time of girl power, it has to be said.
For all the tragedy there is an interesting story behind the witch hunts that swept the world in a hysteria ready to rid the world of evil. Professor Robert Thurston examines the evolution of the witch hunts and sets the record straight on the myths and legends that have resulted from them. So this Halloween, read this fascinating but tragic account of the true victims of evil.
…the perfect read for Autumn
It is 17th Century England, after the nightmare of the Civil War life starts returning to normality for its people. After living a quiet life with his parents, Matthew and Barbara, Jonathan Dymond’s world is about to become a little less stable. After the news of his Uncle Robin’s death Jonathan finds remains of a destroyed letter written by Robin hoping to put right the wrongs of his past before his death. Intrigued at what secrets could exist in his family’s past Jonathan sets out to his Aunty Harriet’s, under the premise of pressing her apples for the cider season, to find out more.
Jonathan senses that his Aunt Harriet is trying to cover her own secrets and past so it is up to him to unravel the mystery as to why his Aunt has something to hide, the secrets Robin wanted to confess before his death, and why Tamer and Joan, two beggars who live in the wood, are connected.
Although Jonathan’s narration is both interesting and believable, it is disappointing not to hear other character’s innermost thoughts, especially those of Tamer and Joan who are fighting for survival without food, water or heat in the woods behind Harriet’s house.
Without trying to spoil the plot there are parts which are quite predictable and other parts which are slightly questionable, but this will make a great group read as there will be plenty of discussion to be had.
Nevertheless, this is a beautifully written book. You can taste the apples, smell the chimney smoke and feel the cold Autumn air on your skin, which makes it perfect reading at this time of year. It’s enough to have you running home to your blankets and hot chocolate!
Click on the cover to get your copy today and make sure to leave your comments below.
Ken Follett fans will be very excited by the news that his bestselling novel, The Pillars of the Earth has been adapted for television and will be screened this weekend. Starring Ian McShane, Matthew MacFadyen, Hayley Atwell and Donald Sutherland, the story is told in a two part series starting this Saturday on Channel 4. The Pillars of the Earth is a tale of love, war and construction with the building of a Cathedral the centre piece of this epic novel. Here is a sneaky peek of what to expect below.
If you haven’t discovered the book yet, click on the cover to get your copy today
First Episode: Sat 16 Oct, 9PM on Channel 4
The Pillars of the Earth Adaptation Rating:
It only has to take words like ‘Victorian’, ‘Supernatural’ and ’Mystery’ to hear the quickening steps of book lover’s feet to their nearest book shop. The List of Seven by Mark Frost has been suggested by Ian Collings due to the increased interest around Sherlock Holmes and stars the author of Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle who joins forces with special agent Jack Sparks who need to stop The Dark Brotherhood a Satanist Cult before it’s too late. Can’t wait to get your hands on a copy? Click on the cover now to transport yourself to the dark and dangerous Victorian streets for this thrilling adventure.
You can follow Ian on twitter @ibc4
Do you have a suggestion for a MidWeek Pick? Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rate this Pick
Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius has been suggested by Mary Mayfield for this week’s MidWeek Pick. The Synopsis really sets the scene for this harrowing tale.
Rome, one January afternoon in 1943. A young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. Innocent and naive, the war is for her little more than a daydream, until she realizes that her husband might never return. This is a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost – even at the risk of excluding reality. Moreover, it’s a compelling and credible description of a typical young German woman during the Nazi era. If we can relate to her we come close to understanding the forces that were shaping an entire generation. The literary masterpiece by one of Germany’s most renowned contemporary writers was published in 2006 and immediately reprinted three times within the first couple of months.
This is a good book if you are looking for something different to read for Europe as part of our Around the World Challenge.
Would you like to choose a book to see us through the week? If you have a great suggestions you want to tell everyone about email email@example.com
Rate this Pick
Oryx and Crake is a novel will bring a touch of darkness and mystery to your week. Some would say a good accompaniment to the British weather at the moment. Margaret Atwood presents a nightmarish vision of an apocalyptic world where Snowman, formally known as Jimmy, is the sole survivor. Left alone with his memory he trawls through events trying to work out what happened when unexpectedly two childhood friends, Oryx and Crake appear. As Snowman travels to the remains of the epicentre of the disaster, he has to pull together his fragmented mind and unfold the reasons behind this global catastrophe. A masterpiece of a novel which deserves a place on everyone’s personal library.
Click on the book cover to get your copy
Thank you to Holly who suggested the book. You can follow Holly on Twitter @hollycave
If you have a great suggestion for a MidWeek Pick then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rate this Pick
…an emotionally powered page turner
It’s a warm sunny day when 8 year old Anna Sands prepares for her evacuation out of London. Not even the threat of the Blitz can spoil the excitement and sense of adventure both Anna and her mother, Roberta, share. Strangely, World War Two has brought new opportunities for them both.
The same feeling is shared by Elizabeth and Thomas Ashton who are busy converting their North Yorkshire Manor House into a school for evacuees with the hope that it will cover the cracks in their failing marriage. While Roberta enjoys her newly found freedom in London, we follow Anna who becomes entwined in the Ashton’s lives and is witness to key events which will affect her for the rest of her life.
The novel is a deep exploration of the mixed emotions war brought to those on the home front and has the ability to hold the reader’s attention throughout the novel. Although at ReaderIReadIt it is policy that spoilers aren’t given away but it is difficult not to warn readers to brace themselves for a lot of tragedy in this story. This unfortunately tips the balance of the story from an enjoyable read into something much more harrowing.
Alison is expert when it comes to adapting her style of writing between the age differences. From the children’s exploration of the house to Elizabeth’s despair of not having a child of her own, you quickly engage with each feeling. However, as there are so many issues and story lines being explored, it is difficult to know what message Alison is wanting to present.
Despite the narrative’s bluntness which describes significant events in a couple of sentences leaving you feeling cheated out of further explanation, Alison doesn’t fail to capture you into the lives and stories of her characters. Be prepared to not only become emotionally involved with the characters but also to love and to lose.
…sparks will fly when you open the cover
Every reader will have experienced those precious but sad moments the last page can bring when the time has come to leave the characters and their world behind you. This is one of those books.
The story follows 17 year old Agnes who after discovering she is pregnant grasps at a quite unusual opportunity to travel to London in order to prevent the trouble and disgrace she would bring to herpoor farming family. Arriving in the bustling streets of the City, Agnes stumbles across a position as the assistant to the John Blacklock a firework maker. Although inspired by her new employment Agnes also dreads the discovery of her secrets.
Beautifully written in present tense the effect has you transported back to 18th Century London where you follow Agnes around the busy, noisy streets. It is an exciting place full of interesting characters but there is also a strong sense of injustice and death surrounding the city. This is captured in a dedication at the start which reads ‘With thoughts spared for all those condemned to death by hanging at Tyburn.’
A nice addition at the back of the book is a walk designed by the Author to take you around the streets Agnes would have walked down, the markets she would have visited and the pubs and coffee houses she would have passed. A very interesting way of exploring what is left of 18th Century London. Be sure not to miss that plus author interviews and book recommendations.
Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers, Borodale sadly missed out on winning the prize but with such a strong debut novel there can only be more to look forward to from the pen of this upcoming author.